Erik ten Hag won’t sell two Man Utd players including Anthony Martial before judging them for himself in pre-season, though seven others won’t be so lucky, per a report.
The Red Devils’ squad come opening day will look unrecognisable to that one that finished last season. Five first-teamers have seen their exits as free agents confirmed. Indeed, Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic, Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata and Edinson Cavani have all departed for nothing.
On the arrivals front, Sky Sports News’ senior reporter, Melissa Reddy, provided a fresh update on six deals Manchester United are exploring. One is due to be completed soon and could be announced as early as this weekend.
Yet according to Goal, new boss Ten Hag wishes to work a more streamlined squad than Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had at their disposal.
As such, the outlet list seven players who are all facing the axe this summer. The tally could’ve been nine, though Goal claim Anthony Martial and Aaron Wan-Bissaka have been handed a reprieve.
Regarding that pair, the publication state Ten Hag wishes to take a good look at them in pre-season.
Martial, 26, endured a torrid loan spell at Sevilla in the second half of last season that did little to raise his stock.
Liverpool deal has knock-on effect
However, losing out to Liverpool over Darwin Nunez has left Ten Hag short on attacking options, especially in central areas.
Cavani has left and Ronaldo is another year older. Martial is capable of playing centrally if required and United links to signings in the final third have revolved around wingers, such as Ajax’s Antony, rather than centre-forwards.
Ten Hag is deemed ‘open-minded’ to a sale if an excellent offer is lodged. That scenario appears unlikely, however, and Martial may yet impress in pre-season anyway.
Wan-Bissaka is another who Ten Hag wishes to cast his eye over. The right-back split time almost equally with Diogo Dalot last season and there are doubts over his suitability to Ten Hag’s style.
The Athletic previously claimed United were open to his sale this summer, though concrete interest did not materialise. Former club Crystal Palace have been linked, but only in a loan capacity.
Goal add Wan-Bissaka will be given the chance to impress in pre-season before a final decision is made.
Seven stars up for sale
Regarding the seven players facing the axe, Goal list Dean Henderson, Axel Tuanzebe, Phil Jones, Eric Bailly, Alex Telles, Brandon Williams and Andreas Pereira.
Goalkeeper Henderson is on course to join Nottingham Forest on loan. Prior reports stated the move would not include an option to buy, indicating his time at United might not be completely over.
It’s a different story for the other six, however. Goal claim they are all or are likely to become up for permanent sale this summer.
The potential arrival of Lisandro Martinez would make the three centre-backs listed surplus to requirements.
The completion of Man Utd’s surprise hijacking of Tyrell Malacia would cast doubts on the futures of fellow left-backs Williams and Telles
De Jong and potentially Eriksen would thrust Pereira out into the cold. Even if United don’t land all their targets, many of the six up for sale are little more than squad players anyway and could still be sold to reduce the bloating in Ten Hag’s squad.
Martial worth persisting with?
Martial has endured two years of misery in what should have been prime years of his career. His goals return between time in Manchester and Seville over the last 24 months stands at nine in 59 matches.
Yet it was only two seasons ago that Martial bagged 23 in all competitions. The talent has never been in question, more so the application.
United now have a forward thinking and progressive manager at the helm. With Ten Hag’s reputation built upon attacking and entertaining football in the Netherlands, the feel-good factor will quickly return at Old Trafford if he gets off to a flyer.
The change of approach may be just what Martial requires to reignite his stalling career. What’s more, the finances elsewhere might play a part.
Reports have speculated United may only have £100m to spend this summer. Deals for just De Jong and Antony alone would likely break that barrier.
Funds for a new striker are therefore unlikely to be available. Martial has shown he can be effective in the past. Perhaps he can be again under a new manager with fresh ideas.